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Faiszer scoffs at ETCA fears

July 31 (CT) The govt will not permit Sri Lankans losing out on job opportunities created by bilateral economic/trade agreements including the Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) which is expected to be signed this year with India, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. A PCLG source from the Ministry said the Minister gave this assurance with reference to ETCA as well as other bilateral trade agreements which are being entered into by the Govt with other countries. more..

Hambantota and Mattala: China declines Sri Lanka’s request

July 31 (ST) China has declined Sri Lanka’s request to convert into equity Beijing-funded projects including Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port. China’s Ambassador Yi Xianliang told PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that it was not possible according to China’s laws. He said it should be done through discussions with investors on commercial terms. Latest request was made by PM to Ambassador Yi at a recent meeting of Cabinet Committee more..

'TN fishermen hopeful of solution to their problem'

July 31 (Hindu) Expressing satisfaction over the deliberations at the Internal stakeholders’ meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Friday, leaders of fishermen associations said they were optimistic that the Centre would soon find a lasting solution to their problem. A delegation of 13 mechanised and country boat fishermen leaders from Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Union Territory of Puducherry attended the meeting more..

Norochcholai Power Plant: Spot tenders to avert coal shortage

July 31 (SO) Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy will call for five spot tenders starting next week to avert a possible shortage of coal for the Norochcholai Power Plant, due to the ongoing rift over the controversial coal tender deal, Secretary to Ministry of Power Dr. Suren Batagoda said. “We’ve held only one meeting so far and the company declined to accept our offer. The company had cited that all the necessary purchases had been made and it was not plausible to back out.” more..

As SLFP crisis deepens, UNP comes to the President’s rescue

July 31 (ST) Even before the Joint Opposition protest march from Kandy ended in Colombo, their actions appear to resonate in the higher echelons of the Govt. At the weekly ministerial meeting last Tuesday, President Mathripala Sirisena reiterated that tough action would be taken against members of the Rajapaksa family for their alleged wrongdoings. The delays, he said, had been misconstrued. more..

Media warnings

July 31 (Island) Afresh warning to media critical of the govt by the PM deserves our attention and comment. The latest warning isn’t the first issued against the mainstream media by the PM. A few months ago, speaking at a function held to mark the 20th Anniversary of the SL Muslim Media Forum, the PM was reported to have said that the greatest threat to media freedom is… from within the media. Not from anyone else. There is, sadly, significant merit to this argument. more..

Some options for Jaffna’s economic revival

July 31 (Island) My essay two weeks ago (What Options for Jaffna Economic Revival?) was on the whole grim and pessimistic and it followed discussions outside the Northern Province with NGO types, small investors and a potential venture capitalist. I had the good fortune a week later to participate in two and a half days of events and discussions in Jaffna thanks to Marshal Fernando of Colombo based Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue and Ahilan Kadrirgamar more..

And then they came for him

July 31 (SL) But who is they? One household employee of Wickrematunge had harboured a suspicion that they were sent by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a suspicion that he had openly voiced. That suspicion did not win the employee a lawsuit or even the ignobility of a summary arrest for defamation. Instead, he was stopped on the street, hooded, gagged, tied up and abducted in one of the white vans more..

Mobitel engages Etisalat

July 31 (ST) Mobitel, mobile phone operating arm of SLT, has been given the go ahead to explore buying out Etisalat. Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters (CCEM) has said it could carry out a study on technical and due diligence of this subsidiary of the leading telecom operator in the UAE as a prelude to negotiations. When the company originally began business as Celltel in June 1989, it was the pioneer of more..

Huge duty waiver for beer company

July 31 (ST) Ministry of Finance has granted significant duty waivers to Lion Brewery Ceylon to import beer in view of its local factory being submerged in floods two months ago. Relief was granted without publicity and translates to Lion Brewery importing beer from several Asian countries at the rate of excise duty charged for local manufacture. Lion and Carlsberg brands sold by Lion Brewery are also produced in more..

Kimiko, first Lankan in action at Rio

July 31 (SO) Five-time South Asian Games gold medallist Kimiko Raheem will be the firstSri Lankan to be seen in action at the XXX1st Olympic Games which begins in Rio de Janeiro on Friday (5). The 17-year-old star swimmer, who won five gold medals at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, India earlier this year, is scheduled to compete in her pet event of women's 100m backstroke at the Rio 2016 Olympics next Sunday (7). more..

Where is the US$ 1 million Aid?

July 31 (CT) NPC member Ananthy Sasitharan criticized an organization that collects funds in the name of war victims of the Northern Province alleging that those funds never reach any needy person. Recalling the controversial US$ 1 million donated by the Malaysian Govt in 2012 to the Tamil Forum Malaysia which said it would support war victims with that money, she said she did not know what happened to that money. more..

Enough is enough: Mangala responds to MR

July 31 (DM) Responding to Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement on the Office on Missing Persons, Minister Mangala Samaraweera today said MP Rajapaksa is trying to score political points at the expense of the grieving mothers and the future generations. Following is the full statement: Presidential commissions, including those appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa such as the LLRC and Paranagama Commissions, more..

New body for hill country Tamils

July 31 (Hindu) Borrowing from the concept of the Southern Development Authority, which had a visible presence during the previous regime, present govt has decided to establish a similar body for the welfare of over one-million plantation community, which essentially comprises hill-country Tamils. To be called the Hill Country New Villages Development Authority, proposed organisation will have a strong institutional mechanism. more..

Investigations into Corruption cases: Be 200% certain, Ranil tells FCID & CID

July 31 (Island) The govt has asked the law enforcement authorities to be 200% certain when instituting legal proceedings with regard to allegations of corruption against those accused of plundering State resources. Minister Rajitha Senaratne on friday said that PM had advised the FCID and the CID to be 200% certain with regard to facts before filing action against those who had or were serving in govt and the public service. more..

Amended concessionary vehicle import scheme for public officers

July 31 (Island) Cabinet approval has been granted on July 16 for the reintroduction of an amended program of providing concessionary vehicle permits for public officers under which a permit holder will be entitled to a 50% waiver on all taxes payable on an imported vehicle valued up to USD 30,000, finance ministry announced. Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented a cabinet paper on this subject on March 26. more..

'No room for communal sentiments'

July 31 (CT) A big hue and cry was made when the clashes occurred among the Jaffna University students two weeks ago at an event to welcome freshers. The brawl was over allowing Kandyan dancers and traditional Tamil Nathaswaram musicians at the event. Several Tamil and Sinhalese students were injured in the incident. However, VC of the Uni of Jaffna Vasanthi Arasaratnam regretting racial comments made over the incident by more..

Peraheras and Elephants

July 31 (Island) The months of July and August when the Esala tree – Cassia Fistula of the family Caesalpiniaceae, aka Golden Shower Tree - bursts forth in its splendor of bright yellow flowers trailing down and nodding in the breeze, is also the month of peraheras. And now peraheras seem to be equated to elephants. We heard that the Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa and Nilames of other temples and devales had complained to the President about the dearth more..

Need to move beyond July Cruelty Concept

July 31 (Island) There is an eye–opener article on the editorial page of Sunday Island of July 24 on cruel acts perpetrated in the month of July written by Rajan Phillips. It attempts to catalogue and dissect the incidents of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka in the post-Independence period - the universe being the incidents of ethnic violence that occurred mainly around the month of July. Every Sri Lankan whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim would abhor such insane and irrational violence more..

The bitter battle ends

July 31 (CT) Sri Lanka and Canada resumed fresh political and socioeconomic ties last week, after a lapse of 13 years or more of a bitter and estranged relationship over alleged human rights violations and war crimes. Canada kept pressing for umpteenth time on the Rajapaksa regime till it ended last year. Former President Rajapaksa was under pressure from the West, especially from Canada and the UK, more..

'What else can we do really?'

July 31 (CI) "Perhaps this is the most scary part: that you can assemble all the best people in one place, give everybody all the resources they need, and yet whatever you do will still always be a leap in the dark. Nobody can truly be sure of anything." Jonathan Liew used these words in The Telegraph this week to describe the sense of uncertainty around English football's huge, and hugely resourced, development hub St George's Park. FA could not have thrown any more money at more..

Maxwell dropped from ODI squad

July 31 (CI) Australia's selectors have lost patience with Glenn Maxwell, putting the big show on hiatus by dropping him for the ODI series in SL and instructing him to work on evolving into a more consistent batsman. While he has been omitted from the team on numerous occasions, this is the first time Maxwell has been dropped from the limited-overs squad altogether since his debut in 2012. The decision follows a run in which he has averaged 11.80 in six innings in Aust's last 10 ODIs. more..

Mahinda’s 1992 Pada Yathra

July 31 (CI) Senior Journalist Kusal Perera said in the course of a chat that when he was going to Parliament from Mahinda's residence in Mirihana, he told me about a march. I believed that the govt could not be toppled with the usual Lipton Circus or Fort Railway Station agitations. Gamini Disanayaka and Lalith Athulathmudali had been sacked from the Govt. Another opinion built up that no one could more..

Japan grants Rs.10 bn loan for development

July 31 (DM) The Japanese govt had granted Rs. 10 billion concessionary loan to implement development proposals made in the 2016 Budget, the Finance Ministry said. It said that this was the first time in the diplomatic history of Sri Lanka and Japan that such a large amount was granted. The declaration with regard to the Rs. 10 billion loan was handed over to Minister Ravi Karunanayake by Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Kenichi Sugama at the Ministry of Finance yesterday. more..

Exports down, remittances, tourism up

July 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's imports rose 0.3% from a year earlier to US$ 1,590 million in May 2016, exports fell 12% to US$ 776 million, data showed. The trade deficit expanded 15.7% from a year earlier to US$ 814 million in May. In the five months to May, imports were down 2.8% to US$ 7,645 million, exports were down 6% to US$ 4,211 million. The trade deficit expanded 1.4% to US$ 3,434 million. In the six months to June worker remittances rose 2.4% to US$ 644.5 million. more..

Muslims make push for separate PC

July 31 (CG) Muslims are maintaining the push for a separate Muslim Provincial Council as the Constitutional Assembly discusses a new Constitution for the country. SLMC is leading the campaign for a separate Muslim administrative unit in line with the policies of late M.H.M. Ashraff, founder of the SLMC. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said that Muslim civil society groups met in Ampara last week to discuss way forward more..

How Sri Lanka's astonishing win at home against Australia was a victory for everyone

July 31 (FP) The football sage Jonathan Wilson once famously, if apocryphally, remarked to some consternation and merriment that goals are overrated. You could adapt his comment ­ probably to some consternation and merriment ­to Test cricket by saying the same thing about the result. There are, of course, series to be won and ranking points to accrue and so on and so forth but, if you ever allow your enjoyment to be solely guided by something as peripheral as whether more..

SLFP considering disciplinary action against Paada Yathra participants

July 31 (DM) SLFP central committee will be convened next week to decide on disciplinary action against those party members who participated in the Paada Yatra the joint opposition protest march and the rally, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said. He said that action will be taken against the SLFPers who participated in the Paada Yatra. “SLFP central committee which will be convened in a day or two will decide on those who participated in the joint opposition protest,” he said. more..

Video: CBK mistaken to think we would attack Bandaranaike monument: Namal

July 31 (AD) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa says that former President Chandrika Bandaranaike is mistaken if she thinks that supporters of the Joint Opposition will throw stones at the memorial of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, who is the founder of the SLFP, during the ongoing Pada Yatra. “We are the ones who are protecting the policies of the real SLFP,” he said, speaking to reporters near the memorial in Horagolla more..

Moragoda discusses Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives business in New Delhi

July 31 (Island) Milinda Moragoda Founder, Pathfinder Foundation (PF) together with Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of the Foundation visited New Delhi to hold discussions on matters connected with the Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives (CILI) of the Pathfinder Foundation. During the visit, they had meetings with M.J. Akbar, State Minister of External Affairs, Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor to the Govt of India, and Dr. S. Jaishankar, Secretary Ministry of External Affairs. more..

Govt to face UN Committee on racial discrimination

July 31 (CG) Govt is to face allegations of racial discrimination when it appears before a UN Committee in August. UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is meeting in Geneva from 2 to 26 Aug during which it will review Sri Lanka from Aug 15-16. Sri Lanka is among 177 States Parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. They are required to submit regular reports to the Committee, more..

Certain media distort facts to disrupt economic development: Govt

July 31 (AD) Govt Information Department accused certain media in the country of distorting the facts in regard the transactions between Colombo and Beijing in order to disrupt the economic development of Sri Lanka. A newspaper had claimed that China has declined a request from Sri Lanka to convert Chinese-funded projects including the Mattala Airport and the Hambantota Port into equity. more..

China-Pak plotting to hijack Buddha legacy

July 31 (ENS) With China collaborating with Pakistan and Sri Lanka to create a Buddhist trail and claim the legacy keeping in view its geo-strategic interests, India has moved to form a transnational circuit for Buddhist pilgrims and tourists in cooperation with South East Asian countries. To promote itself as the cradle of Buddhism, Pakistan has also started promoting its Gandhara Buddhist Trail. India’s master stroke to create the Buddhist trail sprawling across Myanmar, Thailand, more..

PM to leave for Indonesia tomorrow

July 31 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremeisnghe will leave for Indonesia tomorrow on an official visit to participate in the 12th annual World Islamic Economic Forum. According to a statement from the PM’s office, the Premier will address the opening ceremony of the conference on August 2. The Prime Minister is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Joko Widodoa, Minister of Finance Mulyani Indrawati and Minister of Marine Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan during the visit. more..

Indian team to arrive in Colombo on Aug 9 for talks on ETCA

July 31 (Island) A team of senior Indian officials will arrive in Colombo on August 9 for two days of discussion s on the text of the ETCA. Sri Lanka and India are planning to sign later this year. This was stated by outgoing Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India and Foreign Secretary-designate Esala Weerakoon. He said: "The team could not go on July 20 as was planned earlier because our officials were not available." more..

NSS’s BIA chief arrested for using State vehicles for Paada Yathra

July 31 (DM) The Chairman of Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya (NSS) of the BIA Airport & Aviation Branch Warnasiri Bandara was arrested yesterday for using two State owned vehicles for the Joint Opposition’s Paada Yathra march. Two drivers (NSS) of the BIA Airport & Aviation Branch were also arrested over the same charges. The Police alleged that he had used the two vehicles for paying a floral tribute to the statue of former minister Dharmasiri Senanayake during the march. more..

Unprotected railway gatemen go on island wide strike

July 31 (DM) The keepers of unprotected railway gates would be on strike from this morning, urging a wage hike, their collective said. Organizer of Collective of Keepers of Unprotected Railway Crossing Gates Ashoka Bandara said the monthly allowance of Rs.7,500 was not enough for them and therefore it should be increased up to Rs. 12,500. “Silence maintained by Govt had made us them to go ahead with an island wide strike,” he said. “Further, job security should be ensured,” more..

Video: Nothing wrong with police seeking court orders for Pada Yatra: Range Bandara

July 31 (AD) Minister Palitha Range Bandara said that there is not a hint of fear that the Joint Opposition’s Pada Yatra will topple the govt but there is a fear of property being stolen by the gang of thieves on the way to Colombo. He stated that the police department seeking court orders preventing the protest march from entering certain cities is not in any way a wrong action as it is a legal method opted beforehand to prevent more..

Jacqueline brand ambassador for SriLankan Airlines

July 31 (eTN) Srilankan Airlines, the award-winning airline, on Saturday signed on board Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez as their brand ambassador. The letter of agreement was signed last night between Srilankan Airlines Chairman Ajit Dias and Jacqueline Fernandez, July 29 at St. Regis Hotel, Mumbai. With this collaboration it made her, the face of Srilankan Airlines and the brand continues to strengthen its presence in India. Commenting about the association, more..

Japan reinforces maritime security ties with Sri Lanka to counter China

July 31 (AT) Amid China’s growing assertiveness, Japan has been increasing its focus on Sri Lanka by playing a proactive role in helping develop the island’s maritime capabilities. In June, the Japanese Govt granted 1.8 billion Yen to SL to implement the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement project. The project, which aims to contribute toward the improvement of maritime safety capability of the SL Coast Guard, also allows Sri Lanka to procure two petrol vessels to ensure safe navigation more..